Tue 28 May 2024 11:45 am - Jerusalem Time

Axios: The White House is assessing whether “Israel” has violated the “red line” after the Rafah massacre

US President Joe Biden's administration is still assessing whether the Israeli raid that killed at least 45 displaced Palestinians in a displacement camp in Rafah on Sunday represents a violation of President Biden's so-called "red line," two US officials said. For Axios.

The significance of this assessment reportedly comes after Biden earlier this month threatened to suspend the delivery of some US-made offensive weapons if Israel entered population centers in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

US officials later clarified that the humanitarian crisis resulting from the mass displacement of civilians from Rafah could also constitute a violation of Biden's red line.

The airstrike was the deadliest incident in Rafah since Israel began its assault on the city in early May.

This happened a few days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately cease military operations in Rafah.

A US official said that the White House is in the process of determining exactly what happened in order to determine whether the circumstances warrant US action.

A White House National Security Council spokesman said the Biden administration is actively working to engage the Israeli military and partners on the ground to assess what happened.

He added, “The devastating images that followed the raid launched by the Israeli army on Rafah last night, which resulted in the martyrdom of dozens of innocent Palestinians, are heartbreaking.” “Israel has the right to pursue Hamas... but as we made clear, Israel must take whatever necessary measures.” He spoke to a speaker about the need to take “possible precautions to protect civilians.”

 In the days before the disastrous airstrike, White House officials felt they had been able to significantly influence Israeli operational plans in Rafah in a way that would prevent mass civilian casualties, according to three US officials.

When White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was in Israel last week, he held several hours of discussions with senior Israeli officials about the Rafah operation.

These talks included a detailed briefing from Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Israeli Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy, according to the Axios website.

A senior US official said that Sullivan felt that many of the administration’s concerns were addressed in Israel’s updated plans for Rafah, and that it was possible to see how an operation could be carried out without crossing Biden’s “red lines.”

This assessment led the United States to soften its alleged opposition to the IDF expanding its operations in Rafah, which included the airstrike on Sunday.

An American official said that the Rafah incident is likely to increase political pressure on Biden to change his policy toward the war in Gaza.

An Israeli military official admitted that the raid was carried out by a fighter plane that used “two munitions with a reduced warhead,” and said that they were intended to hit this type of target.


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Axios: The White House is assessing whether “Israel” has violated the “red line” after the Rafah massacre